Can fog firefighting systems beat sprinklers?

One Ultrafog nozzle can protect an area up to 48m2 One Ultrafog nozzle can protect an area up to 48m2

It seems that fog fire fighting systems have a way to go to catch up with sprinklers as far as popularity is concerned, but there’s good reason to consider them.

As Andrea Davanzo of Sweden’s Ultrafog AB explained, the ultrafine mist produced by the stainless steel head cools the space, mitigates against radiant heat and suppresses the oxygen available for the flames. More, it does all this only using 10% of the volume of water of a sprinkler system: the surface area provided by millions of very high-density water droplets is much greater than that presented by larger splashes.

The fact that it doesn’t drench the area “means you are more quickly able to return to duty – and there’s less repair work”. In fact Mr Davanzo added that the suspended water droplets display a tendency to “surge” around the flames, drawn in by the hot air flow, “which means that the fog tends to stay localised”.

The high pressure fog also wins when it comes to installation: as one nozzle can protect an area up to 48m2, there are fewer to be installed and the narrow gauge pipe results in a low total weight.

While these systems are obviously of practical use throughout accommodation and galley areas onboard personnel carriers such as the larger CTVs as well as in vessels such as SOVs and other floatels, more novel is the fire-fighting fog’s ability to protect structurally vulnerable areas with its cooling properties.

For example, one installation focused on the underwater viewing area of a sightseeing boat: While strong enough in normal conditions “the glass stood the chance of breaking if exposed to intense heat” Mr Davanzo explained, compromising the integrity of the whole vessel.

The answer was to use fog to keep the temperature down, making it safe even in case of fire.

Finally, these fog units are also effective enough to be Lloyd’s Register certified for use against fires in Category A machinery spaces, i.e. engine rooms. While they take a little longer that gas to completely extinguish the fire – minutes rather than seconds – once it’s out, it’s out, explained Mr Davanzo’s colleague, Przemyslaw Zalucki, unlike gas which just blocks oxygen, and so demands maintained concentration or risks the fire reigniting.

Further, Mr Zalucki added: “The big advantage of water mist over CO2 is that someone who stays in the engine room, dies.” So, while there are other, expensive alternatives to CO2, mist remains the less toxic, cheaper solution.

By Stevie Knight

Latest Jobs

Marine Superintendent

A really exciting opportunity has arisen to join one of the leading Marine and Environmental compani... Read more

TUG MASTER

Reports to the Operations Manager in region. Presides over the crew of his ship. The size of the cre... Read more

Coxswain / Crane Driver

ABP is the UK’s leading port operator, with a unique network of 21 ports across England, Scotland an... Read more

Small Craft Naval Architect / Design Engineer

Camarc Design is based in the UK and is one of Europe’s leadings small craft design firms specialisi... Read more

Multimedia Designer

We are looking for an experienced Multimedia Designer to join a busy Marketing Department based in F... Read more

Marketing and PR Manager

We are looking for a talented, experienced, hands-on, strategy-led Marketing & PR Manager to join ou... Read more

View all jobs